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Why Relieve Your Stress?

Stress is actually different things to different people….it is a result of our individual experiences.  However, there is no reason why you cannot learn some simple, basic techniques for deflecting it.

Let’s look at some of the most common causes of stress:

Usually, you become stressed due to having to face something new, as we naturally fear the unknown. You can also become worried if you are going to have to deal with something that is unpredictable.Another source of possible stress can come from a threat to your ego, especially if it is about your competence and this is happening in front of your colleagues. Finally, some of you may become unduly uncomfortable when you feel you have little or no control over a situation.

Now here are some simple de-stressors you can try:

  1. Breathe in deeply by extending your diaphragm fully, then breathe out slowly. Do it about 15-20 times.  When we are stressed we often breathe in a shallow manner, thereby reducing the oxygen to our brains.  This impedes rational thought and our problem-solving abilities.  Once you increase the oxygen again, you will be able to think more clearly and therefore deal more effectively with the situation.  Besides it usually puts the stress response on hold.
  2. Sing….this also increases your abdominal breathing (if you do it well) and again you will slow down your stress response and begin to feel better and more in control.
  3. Exercise changes your brain chemistry by releasing more endorphins, the feel-good, happy chemicals, and also uses the energy generated by the stress response in a physical manner. These chemicals also can enhance your immune system helping you to stave off infections more effectively.  This means that fit people are generally healthier and happier.
  4. Laughter also releases those feel-good chemicals so reduces the effects of the stress response and enhances your immune system at the same time. Besides, life is just too short not to have fun!
  5. Read, according to a study at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England, 6 minutes of reading is sufficient to reduce stress levels by 68%. That is even better than listening to music, which reduces it by 61% or by having a cup of tea which reduces it by 54%.
  6. Meditation is another great stress reducer. A study at Boston University, University of Montreal and Laval University, concluded that meditation, when done regularly, can cut stress levels by 40%.

Stress is a natural part of your life…..it will occur.  In other words, no one’s life is a long straight road, rather it will have curves, hills, valleys, washouts and floods, so if we have strategies to deal with those challenges and obstacles we will be happier and more successful in all areas of our lives. It is more important how we deal with it.  In fact, not all stress is bad.  Short term stress can actually propel human beings to higher levels of achievement because the burst of adrenalin can actually provide us with high energy, clarity, and endurance for brief periods of time.

It is the long term stressors that are most harmful, particularly when you do nothing to reduce the side effects.  Long term stress can result in irreversible physiological damage to your organ systems, your memory, your cognitive abilities, your sleep habits, your weight, and your communication skills.  It can cause you to “awfulize” and catastrophize situations as you have lost the ability to perceive issues as they truly are. It can lower performance levels at work and cause more mistakes.  This can hurt your self-confidence and self-esteem.  Many employees who are forced to take a stress leave, often come back with lowered performance levels, more frailty and the high chance that they will require another leave.  Some never return to work.

Stress has been around from the beginning of time however it has been only in more recent times that we have begun to realize just how devastating it can be if not dealt with in an effective manner….and that will vary from person to person.

So, if you have been feeling anxious, irritable, unhappy, etc. or have noticed behavioural changes in a family member or colleague, try to seek help for yourself or encourage the other person to seek it for themselves before the resultant problems become irreversible.

Life is too short not be enjoying it….so face your challenges, use them as opportunities to learn, but do not dwell on them! Positive people are happier and healthier and again, we should be finding ways to enjoy our lives not destroying them.

Sandy Chernoff
Sandy Chernoffhttp://softskillsforsuccess.com/
SANDY'S 30 years of didactic and clinical teaching in study clubs and continuing dental education, coupled with her almost 40 years of Dental Hygiene practice bring a wealth of experience to her interactive soft skills workshops. With her education background she easily customizes interactive sessions to suit the specific needs of her clients. Her energetic and humorous presentation style has entertained and informed audiences from Victoria to New York City. Sandy’s client list includes law firms, teaching institutions, volunteer and professional organizations and conferences, businesses, and individuals. Her newest project is turning her live workshops into e-learning programs using an LMS platform. Her teaching and education background have helped her to produce meaningful and somewhat interactive courses for the learners wanting the convenience of e-learning options. As the author of 5 Secrets to Effective Communication, Sandy has demonstrated her ability to demystify the complexities of communication so that the reader can learn better strategies and approaches which will greatly improve their communication skills and ultimately reduce conflict, resentment, disappointment, complaining, and confusion. As a result, the reader will be able to increase productivity, efficiency and creativity, improve all the relationships in their lives and ultimately enjoy a happier, healthier existence! Sandy blogs regularly on her two websites on the various soft skills topics that are featured in her workshops and e-learning programs.

6 COMMENTS

  1. As always, another educational article that teaches us how to behave towards a very frequent emotional state, especially at this moment.
    There is no doubt that it is extremely important to know that when stress grows beyond a certain extent it can affect the body and its responses, and so you must try to contain its effects. For this purpose it is useful to maintain a positive mental attitude.
    For example, in the emergency we are experiencing, we can protect ourselves not only from the virus but also from stress, if we understand how it works. In other words, it is essential to know that each of us has the opportunity to direct our thoughts, emotions and attitudes much more than is often believed. It is important, for example, to reflect on the fact that the situation in which we came to find ourselves could be compared to a sudden natural disaster. And, therefore, it is necessary to give it the meaning it has: restrictions and sacrifices serve the whole of society as well as ourselves. The time we waste can also be a time rediscovered, to dedicate ourselves to our loved ones, to appreciate the positive implications of a slowness to which we are no longer used. We live immersed in rhythms that often make us alien to ourselves and make relationships superficial and instrumental. Today we are suddenly thrown into an opposite dimension: we try to seize all the opportunities, and it will be important to understand the negative and positive consequences that may derive from it.

    • thanks for your insights and for taking the time to read this article, Aldo. You always have very valuable information to share with the readers & I pretty much always agree with you. We definitely need to adapt and accept what we have to do for as long as we have to do it in order to stay safe and healthy. It is not much fun to stay at home most of the time and not see our family and friends however, it is what we must do to keep everyone safe. Hope you are staying safe and healthy. Enjoy your weekend!

    • Hi Darlene, Yes, it is up to us and in order to avoid irreversible damage to our organ systems we really need to figure out what works for us and use those strategies. I hope you are doing well & staying safe & healthy during this rather scary pandemic. Thanks for taking the time to read this article.

  2. Thank you, Sandy, for providing tips on how to deal with stress. Stress can do many things to you with none of them being good. Each of us deals with stress differently. Not every method will work for everybody. The best thing a person can do is that which they feel works best for them. There are those who can’t tolerate any stress nor can they de-stress. Stay safe and well.

    • thanks for your comments, Joel they are all very true. Each person does deal with and is affected by stress differently so one needs to figure out what works for them. Hope you are staying safe and well, too.

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